Thursday, December 11, 2014

Six Secrets of a Successful Retreat

Six Secrets of a Successful Retreat

For most of us, it's challenging to carve out time for a retreat.  So, you want to make sure you make the most out of your precious retreat time.  Through 35 years of taking and leading retreats, I've found you're almost sure to have a successful retreat if you:

1.    Choose the right setting and format 
2.    Prepare in advance
3.    Start off Gently
4.    Let go of concepts of do what works for you
5.    Alternate between being still and moving
6.    Build a bridge back to your life.

I have discussed the setting, format and preparation for a retreat already.  Let’s focus now on #3.

Start off Gently

Once you arrive at your retreat site, start with rest and relaxation. Particularly if you are tired and/or stressed, it is very helpful to give yourself as much time as you need to unwind and rest. Let your body sleep as long as it needs to. Perhaps go for a gentle hike or swim. Take an afternoon nap if you’re tired.  Use whatever relaxation techniques work best for you. Don’t put any pressure on yourself to focus spiritually. If you feel like doing some inspirational reading, meditation, etc., go for it. But, please don’t have any sense of should around this.

If you’re planning to be on retreat for a several days or longer, you might have the luxury to take a full day to rest and relax.  If you’re just doing a weekend retreat, perhaps you’ll take several hours. Be kind to yourself and don’t be in a rush.

In future blogs, I’ll discuss #4-6

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